9:05 AM

Five –3s in Five Days

Recently while cruising through dreamland, I came up with an amazing idea. Now keep in mind, this oozed from my brain somewhere between Jennifer Aniston driving a drop-top purple PT Cruiser (don’t ask) and some really angry little green men dancing on my bed to the delightful Cuban sounds of Pink Martini (the band, not the drink).

In this dream, I retire early (yeah, like that’s going to happen), and set out to fly five DC-3s in five days. Here was my dream itinerary:

1. Before trying to fly any DC-3, I had better get a type rating. So off to Chino CA I jaunt to Dreamflight. After my multi-rating and about eight hours of dual, I’ll be ready for the FAA 2.5 hour check ride. And the folks in Chino say this is not just a “paper” ratng, no, they actually teach you to fly the Gooney.

2. Delta’s Ship 41

Quite possibly the most beautiful –3 on the planet, this bird was built at Santa Monica as DC-3-357 December 23rd 1940, and was restored ground up in 1999 by Delta, and is still registered to them as N28341.

3. Russian Lisunov Li-2

I'm on the overnight Eastbound redeye to Budaörs Airport in Budapest, Hungary, where the very last known flying Li-2 (This is RA-01300, c/n 23441605) was seen a few years back. I want to fly this Russian knockoff of a Gooney and compare the two ships.

4. Ozark Airlines DC-3

Next, it’s back across the pond to Griffin, GA, to find the last known sighting of the world’s oldest DC-3, N133D. She was the sixth DC-3 off the line and was delivered to American Airlines on July 12, 1936 as a Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST).

5. Basler BT-67

I end my five in five day dream trip at Basler Turbo Conversions at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI where I fly their BT-67, a modern, updated –3 with P & W PT6A-67Rs (1424 SHP) that produces these improvements over the original:

• 35% more interior volume
• 43% more useful load
• 24% more speed
• 76% more productivity
• Up to 100% more fuel capacity
• Lower stall speed
• Lower approach speed
Of course, this was all just a dream. A really far-out, wild, whacked dream. Five DC-3s in five days. Whew. But wouldn’t this be a rush to do...for real?

Next dream, I fly all the remaining Beech Starships I can find that haven’t been, um, recycled.

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